A few days into his three-month journey Josh Szajewski, 21, from Kenora, is expecting to be both mentally and physically challenged by the nearly 2000 kilometres canoe trip.
Szajewski is one of ten young Métis people from across the province canoeing from Ottawa to Thunder Bay. Eight will paddle in a large canoe, while two will drive along in a van to provide ground support.
He said the longest they've paddled in one day is 30 kilometres but Szajewski said they are going to be averaging as much as 50 kilometres each day.
Szajewski said he's up to the challenge of completing this epic journey, "I'm a person who really likes to be challenged and this experience is going to be one of the biggest, if not biggest challenge of my life. And it's just kind of a way to get away and do something different."
Those comments are echoed by Genevieve Routier, from Sault Ste. Marie but now living in Thunder Bay. She said she has numerous reasons for taking part in the canoe trip, "I have a lot of personal reasons but as whole I wanted the challenge, physically and mentally...I feel very fortunate to be able to be part of it and it's something I've wanted to do for a couple of years now and I just feel so privileged to be able to be part of it."
Szajewski said along the route the team will promote Métis culture, "every aspect of what our heritage actually is and that's the voyageur ways and the traditional crafts and arts and all the practices of the Métis people.
The expedition is scheduled to end on August 22 in Thunder Bay, in time for the Metis Nation of Ontario’s Annual General Meeting.